On my journey of self-discovery I have been puzzling over who my “authentic self” really is - and how will I know when I’m “being myself authentically”?

Recently I saw don Miguel Ruiz speaking on Operah and he said something that really struck me - basically he said that nobody knows their authentic self, and probably nobody ever will.

It dawned on me that I cannot really know my true self completely. I can be authentic from moment to moment by not repressing my feelings, desires, and thoughts. But to truly know myself is too much. I’ll never be able to encompass all there is to know. I’ll never know how I will react in every possible situation. Through my life I get to know parts of myself when I observe myself in action, how I react and act in different situations. I learn what I like by trying things out. Sometimes something I thought I might like, I don’t like. Something I used to really dislike, I might try again now and it’s okay.

So, I make a guess about who I am, what I like, how I’ll act, but it’s an educated guess at best. I could change and grow without noticing it.

One of the Four Agreements is “Don’t Make Assumptions” and often I assume that I am still the same as before, and that I know myself. If I let go of that assumption and allow myself to be transform from one moment to the next without judging or resisting that transformation I can be more authentic. I won’t be trying to live up to my idea of what my authentic self should be like based on my past experiences.

At some level it is annoying that I can never really know my authentic self. However, I think working with guesses and assumptions is good enough for practical purposes, most of the time. As long as I don’t get too upset that I don’t turn out who I thought I would be, things should turn out well in the end.